No Howard deal…for now


The Orlando Magic have told rival executives that they might not trade Dwight Howard after all, according to league sources.

An executive who has had discussions with the Magic regarding Howard said Orlando only will trade the star center in a deal that is great for the franchise. The executive said this has been Orlando’s stance for the past “week or so.”

And so it seems that, at least for now, this Dwightmare will not be ending anytime soon.

I have mixed feelings on this.  If you’re Hennigan, why rush into a deal which will have impact upon your franchise for years to come?  At the same time, the longer the Magic wait, the less potential suitors would probably be likely to give up: for example, if the Rockets only had half a season to try and convince Howard to stay, they wouldn’t be willing to sacrifice with as much as they probably are offering right now.

The part of the saga which has held most comedic value is the forced involvement of the Brooklyn Nets.  Brook Lopez is such a desirable asset that the Magic are willing to wait until the deadline until he becomes available?  Really now?  It’s clear here that Hennigan is using this angle as the only leverage available in a bad situation turned disastrous.  It would help though if the scenario were somewhat believable: as I’ve said before, for a rebuilding club, it’s better to not even have Brook Lopez at all than to have him on the books at $15million.  (Then again, this is the NBA, and both Gilbert Arenas and Rashard Lewis somehow got traded, so I wouldn’t put anything past anyone…)

For Houston, the news probably means little.  They would still gladly take Howard but they are also happy with their hand.  Rather than overpay, management seems content to wait things out and go to war with their rookies.  The Jeremy Lin acquisition should do enough to fill seats and most fans seem content with a youth movement.  (Still, for the real relevance the organization has craved, a Howard deal would be necessary.)

If talks linger until the deadline, would Morey still pursue?  I think so.  For one, the Houston brass won’t just walk away from the talks in disgust like we’ve seen from so many others.  They know the nature of negotiations and rarely let emotion play a role in their decisions – see the signing of Jeremy Lin as example of pragmatism over pride.

They also were willing to risk a rental of Carmelo Anthony in similar situations when that “star” too was not willing to extend.  And Howard is a significantly larger piece.

The price would have to be right.  If two rookies were in play now, Morey may not be willing to part with more than one at the deadline.  It will all depend on how they do.  If waiting, Hennigan will at least have the benefit of seeing how each of these assets turn out.  Donatas Motiejunas will also then be available.

It’s a dangerous game the Magic are playing.  But what choice do they have?  If Howard has already wavered so many times, perhaps he can be swayed to stay in Orlando?

With that said, I’m not sure the Magic would want to enter another season with this mess hanging over their heads.  They won’t be good either way but if they move on, at least they’ll be on the repair emotionally.

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